Okay kids, I’m starting to worry that I’m being a little bit too honest with you humans, putting all of my dirty laundry out for you all to daintily sniff and consequently become repulsed. By me, by my life, by my dreadful choices.
I’m sick of writing columns about me making an a$$ (cha-ching) of myself at a party, so for this week I’m going to skip the part where I lose my phone, make up a really inappropriate rap about a gentle, ladylike dog named Shelby, and exploit the kindness of the merciful Lisa Ashby. I’m going to skip ALL of that and the more enjoyable in-betweens and get to the aftermath.
Really, there were no life-altering or ruining repercussions to my behavior. But when you’re 21 and it’s your senior year, a lot of people will start making excuses a viable option of explanation and justification. “It’s okay! You’re 21!” “We’ve all done it before!” “It just happens sometimes” “You’re just figuring out your limits!” or, more generally, “You’re just figuring it out.”
And those are nice excuses; you’ve probably heard or used them yourselves, and certainly they’re comforting. But I have to be honest with myself and say that no, I’m not comfortable resting my rhyme and reason on a rationale that’s both flimsy and untrue.
Sure, I’d like to explain it all away, justify my wild behavior, or say that I’m just going through a phase “” all of those things are possible, but when you boil all of the water out of the excuses, it’s myself I find at the bottom of the barrel.
It’s my agency, my desires, and my wants dictating what I’m seeking, where I’m looking to find it, and how I’m behaving in order to get it. And I’d like to take responsibility for myself, because, although I’ll still be young in the scheme of things, in my opinion (said the opinion columnist), youth is not an excuse. Because there’s a difference between being young and being immature. And your age doesn’t necessarily dictate the level of your maturity.
So if I am immature, irresponsible or reckless “” it’s no absolute of youth, it’s my state of mind. I’m willing to let my age be an excuse for immaturity when I have the agency, the capacity and the self-awareness to rise above it.
We’re halfway through the year, and this is a time when the mistakes we’re making either instruct our improvement or become a part of our character. So whether you’re a first year or a fellow senior, don’t let anyone look down on you because you’re young, and certainly don’t look down on yourself. Instead, I want to see youth not as an excuse or a justifiable hindrance, but rather as a time to figure out the person I’m going to be, not with excuses and the same circular mistakes “” but by making choices that reflect the person I’m trying to grow into.
I guess what I’m saying is, I’m tired of wasting my time and saying it’s okay because I’m young, because other people are doing it and because we all make mistakes. I want to do something constructive and better “” not despite my youth, but because of it.
Margaret Browne is a senior majoring in English.